This coming Thursday will be the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in Europe. This pivotal battle turned the tide of World War II and changed the future for all. But it did not happen without the enormous cost of over 54,000 brave Allied soldiers who died on that June day in 1944. The bravery and sacrifice exhibited by these men continue to benefit every person now living. Considering that only a handful of those who fought that day are still alive, it’s only appropriate to pause and thank them for their service and to honor the memory of those who have passed.
The months leading up to the assault on Normandy’s beaches were very troubling for the Allies. Although we look back now with certainty at that day’s results, the political and military leaders had no guarantee of the eventual outcome and realized that this intense struggle could go either way. It was far from a sure bet but seemed the best of many distasteful options.
There is much we can learn as we look back on D-Day. Aside from the heroism and bravery so powerfully displayed, we should also recognize the soldiers’ resolve and discipline. Although there were many miles of enemy line to be attacked, no individual soldier was responsible for it all, only his particular section.
I’m sure if those young men thought very long on how overwhelming the task before them was, their fears would have easily defeated them. Stretching over 50 miles, the entire battle line was most imposing. But as each soldier and battalion took up their own assigned space, all 50 miles were filled and the battle was eventually won.
In our world today, the evil seems overwhelming. There are so many assaults on humanity, truth, and righteousness. Deceit and greed characterize many commercial enterprises and the media escalates the slightest sparks of controversy into fierce battles. The preciousness of human life is trivialized by gangs and snuffed out by abortion. Much of today’s entertainment features language, sexuality, and nudity that would have made WWII sailors blush. Political campaigns are dominated by slander, bitterness, and accusations rather than civil discourse and even our fundamental right of religion is under fierce assault.
Aside from these oppressive evils, the pain and suffering from disease, malnutrition, and poverty also challenge us. Homelessness, health care costs, and hunger fire their mighty guns from the shoreline trying to intimidate those who dare to conquer them. Domestic violence, child abuse, and sex trafficking blast away along with drug and alcohol crises.
All of earth’s evils seem too vast and overpowering to withstand, much less defeat. Fought out on the battlefields of social media, nightly news, art, literature, drama, schoolrooms, and more, the many fronts seem at times to be infinite. It’s easy to cower in fear and do nothing.
That’s when we must remember how many others God has called to stand with us. He hasn’t asked us to attack the whole line, just our segment. We are not responsible for the entire war, only our part of the line. Elijah believed he was the only remaining faithful person when God reminded him that there were 7,000 others also still true.
If each Christian covers his or her own section in prayer and intentionally fulfills God’s individual marching orders, much progress can be made. Realizing that neither our strength nor this battle is ours, but that both belong to the Lord further empowers us to boldly advance Jesus’ kingdom. There will be some casualties, but let’s remember Jesus, who gave his all to secure our victory!
As we remember those who fought on D-Day, may their courage and sacrifice inspire us to hold our part of the line. May each of us advance against whatever evil God has called us to confront and to do as much good as we possibly can wherever he has placed us. When we all work together, mighty victories can be won for our God and for Christ’s Church. Blessings, George